Robert Ryman

Untitled: A Painting in Four Parts, 1963–1964

July 30–August 31, 2012
980 Madison Avenue, New York

…there is never a question of what to paint, but only how to paint. The how of painting has always been the image—the end product.
—Robert Ryman

Gagosian Gallery is pleased to present four paintings by Robert Ryman.

Ryman’s principal concern over the decades has been the ontology of painted surface in relation to its underlying support. He considers this relation to be highly performative in nature, often referring to the support as the “stage.” This ongoing investigation has yielded infinite visual possibilities without resort to images, implied spaces or manipulations of framing. In all his paintings the outer edges of the support are left bare and unpainted, so there is no doubt as to its equal importance. His works are typically square in format, and use white paint laid over partially visible, darker colored grounds.

Ryman has used a wide variety of paints since the 1950s, from gloss and semi-gloss to matte, from thin to viscous, and he handles them in many different ways to subtly nuanced effect. His supports range similarly, from industrial metal to linen to canvas, and finally to the wall itself. The wall, the light quality and the overall spatial confines each play an active role in the experience and meaning of Ryman's works, whatever their size and no matter what the interaction between paint and support.

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